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The New Dramatists of Mexico 1967--1985

The New Dramatists of Mexico 1967--1985

Ronald D. Burgess
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    The New Dramatists of Mexico 1967--1985
    Book Description:

    In 1976 a dozen hopeful young Mexican dramatists -- most of them studying with Emilio Carballido -- began staging plays, primarily in small, out-of-the-way theater, and publishing them, mostly in university magazines with limited distribution. Until now, more than twenty years later, there has been no comprehensive study devoted either to this original group of writers or to those who followed in the same generation, and no central source of information about them or their production. Although they continue to produce more plays every year, they represent a lost generation.

    Ronald Burgess now offers the first extensive study of this group of playwrights and their work. Included is discussion of over 200 plays by more than 40 writers, but the work of nine key playwrights is examined in depth. Most of these dramatists concern themselves with the state of Mexico today, reacting to current social conditions with depictions ranging from violence to guarded hope to anguished hopelessness. Many look to their nation's history and culture for explanations.

    In his illuminating study, Burgess places this theatrical generation in the context of contemporary Mexican society and literature, employing a wide variety of analytic approaches to highlight essential characteristics of these representative authors.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6233-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1. Introduction The Formation of a Generation
    (pp. 1-13)

    The task of characterizing a literary generation is perhaps most wisely, or at least most easily, done after the fact. In the light of historical perspective one can define with some assurance the circumstances and events that unified and then held together a group of writers. Lost in this long view, however, are the immediacy and insights gained through personal contacts that exist only at the moment of formation. It is this immediacy and even a certain sense of urgency that lie behind this book. The urgency exists because the current group of young Mexican dramatists is something of a...

  5. 2. The Early Years Villegas and López
    (pp. 14-29)

    It is generally accepted that there is a difference between “drama” and “theater.” In “Aproximación semiológica a la ‘escena’ del teatro del Siglo de Oro español,” José María Diez Barque makes the distinction in terms of two texts, A and B: “Texto a: el texto de la obra. Coincide con los otros géneros literarios, aunque con particularidades propias.Texto b: el texto escénico. Da especificidad teatral” (53). According to Diez Barque, the communication process of Text A has a linguistic base, and in Text B the base is visual-acoustic (53). These characteristics help to differentiate the works of the first...

  6. 3. The Generation Gap The First Wave
    (pp. 30-44)

    Like Oscar Villegas and Willebaldo López, many of the dramatists who appeared in the late 1960s began writing in university classes and workshops held by Emilio Carballido. This was the first large and cohesive group of new writers since the 1950s. However, all of the playwrights, including Villegas and López, were greeted with such disinterest and even scorn from public and critics that they stopped writing after only a few years, and eventually the entire group turned to other endeavors. Some of them managed to publish or stage a few works, mostly in small magazines, newspaper supplements, or university publications,...

  7. 4. A Five-Year Lull, 1974-1978 Velásquez
    (pp. 45-61)

    The year 1973 should have been the turning point for Mexican theater’s new generation. A fresh, new group of young writers had just had a selection of their plays published, Emilio Carballido and Luisa Josefina Herández figured among their teachers and supporters, and many of the important dramatists who had formed the theater vanguard for the preceding twenty years had reduced their production or ceased writing altogether. However, a simple glance at anycartelera teatralof the period suggests why the new dramatists failed to find support from the public. Foreign plays (including American musicals such asMy Fair Lady)...

  8. 5. The Storm Surrounding the Lull González Dávila and Olmos
    (pp. 62-77)

    By far the largest number of this generation’s writers falls into one of two groups: those who began writing before 1974 and then gradually stopped, and those who began writing after 1978. Only a few belong to the five-year period of reduced activity between 1974 and 1978. Only two began their production during the first period and continued writing after the five-year lull. Jesús González Dávila and Carlos Olmos stand apart from the other dramatists of this generation not only in that they continued to write when so many others stopped, but also in the very nature of their plays,...

  9. 6. Many Realities Berman and Espinosa
    (pp. 78-96)

    The seven-year period from 1967 to 1973 that constitutes the first wave of new Mexican drama produced some fifty plays by a dozen or so playwrights, most of whom stopped writing after a few years. The second wave, corresponding to the seven years from 1979 to 1985, produced double that number of plays and well over two dozen new, active dramatists. The growth came not only in numbers but also in the overall quality of the plays. Although many of the themes remained similar, their presentation gained more depth and variety and began to be couched in full-length form (as...

  10. 7. Spotlight on Society Liera and Rascón Banda
    (pp. 97-116)

    Oscar Liera and Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda used theater to comment on society and its institutions. Liera grounded his plays on a broad base that includes literature, Mexican history and legend, and the idea that life and theater are equivalent. Rascón Banda built on an essentially realistic foundation and focused on the lower class in small towns, which is to say, not in Mexico City. If Sabina Berman questioned reality, Liera, at least at his most extreme, posited reality as theater: people are always creating and acting roles and cannot tell the masks from the reality because basically there is...

  11. 8. Bridging the Gap The Second Wave
    (pp. 117-131)

    As has been noted, the second wave of Mexico’s new drama brought with it an explosion of playwrights, plays, publications, stagings, workshops, and general interest. The renewed enthusiasm began in 1979, and over the next several years a continuing series of events kept young dramatists in the public eye. This produced more possibilities for staging and publishing works, more attention from the public and the theater establishment, and more publicity. Taken together, they made writing for the theater seem less futile than it had been for so many years, and large numbers of potential dramatists jumped at the chance for...

  12. 9. Conclusion A Beginning
    (pp. 132-138)

    It can be claimed that the new generation of Mexican drama officially began with Oscar Villegas’s publication ofLa paz de la buena gentein 1966. Since he helped inaugurate the period, it seems appropriate that he reappeared in its later years. For twelve years Villegas abandoned playwriting and concentrated on making ceramics, but some of the events mentioned in previous chapters helped lead him back to drama. His style changed very little and, if anything, the base for his material broadened as he continued to express many of the fundamental concerns of theNueva Dramaturgiageneration. These concerns are...

  13. Appendix A Works of the Playwrights
    (pp. 139-150)
  14. Appendix B Plays in the Nueva Dramaturgia Series
    (pp. 151-154)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 155-156)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 157-161)
  17. Index
    (pp. 162-166)